Seeking to prevent any intrusion of aircraft through the mountainous borders with Pakistan and China, the Defence Ministry is set to discuss a proposal to acquire two regiments of the Akash Prime missiles which can be deployed in high altitude areas above 15,000 feet.
The new Akash missiles which will have an extended performance range than its predecessors are being prepared to be deployed in high altitude areas in Ladakh which shares boundaries with both Pakistan and China.
“The Defence Ministry is scheduled to consider the Army proposal worth around Rs 10,000 crore for acquiring two regiments of the Akash Prime or extended performance Akash missiles. The Akash Prime Missile is an upgraded version of the missile system already existing in the Army,” government sources told.
The proposal would be discussed at the meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council scheduled to be held today after the return of Army Chief General Bipin Rawat and Defence Minister from Ladakh.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will inaugurate the Col Chewang Rinchen Bridge built between Durbuk and Daulat Beg Oldie in eastern Ladakh.
The Akash missile system has been developed in India by DRDO and has proven to be highly successful in the defence forces.
The Army already has two regiments of the missile and is looking to add two more for deployment on Pakistan and China border.
Even though the Army is facing minor issues with servicing of the system due to involvement of two production agencies including the Bharat Electronics LimitedNSE -1.30 % and the Bharat Dynamics LimitedNSE 1.37 %, it is generally happy with missile’s performance.
The present order of two regiments was earlier to be given to foreign vendors but the Narendra Modi government decided in favour of ‘Make in India’ in defence.
Recently, the Cabinet Committee on Security headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi cleared the project for the Air Force to buy seven squadrons of the surface to air missile.
During an exercise in Surya Lanka held last year, the Akash missile system was tested along with all other air defence missiles including Israeli ones in the Indian Air Force inventory and it came out as the best performer.
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) had successfully test-fired AKASH-MK-1S, the surface to air missile from ITR, Chandipur, Odhisa on May 25 and 27 this year. Akash Mk1S is an upgrade of existing AKASH missile with indigenous Seeker.
The first image of the surface of the moo captured by the Imaging Infrared Spectrometer (IIRS) payload on-board Chandrayaan 2, has been releases by ISRO (Indian Research Space Organisation).
“See the first illuminated image of the lunar surface acquired by #Chandrayaan2’s IIRS payload. IIRS is designed to measure reflected sunlight from the lunar surface in narrow and contiguous spectral channels,” ISRO tweeted along with the picture on its account.
The image covers part of the lunar farside in the northern hemisphere. A few prominent craters (Sommerfield, Stebbins and Kirkwood) are seen in the image.
The IIRS on-board Chandrayaan-2 is designed to measure the reflected sunlight and emitted part of Moon light from the lunar surface in narrow and contiguous spectral channels (bands) ranging from ~800 – 5000 nanometre (0.8-5.0 micrometre (um)), ISRO said in a statement.
It uses a grating to split and disperse the reflected sunlight (and emitted component) into different spectral bands.
“The major objective of IIRS is to understand the origin and evolution of the Moon in a geologic context by mapping the lunar surface mineral and volatile composition using signatures in the reflected solar spectrum,” the space agency said.
“Preliminary analysis suggests that IIRS could successfully measure the variations in the reflected solar radiation that bounces off the lunar surface from different kinds of surface types, namely, crater central peaks (example Stebbins), crater floors (example Stebbins and Sommerfield), very fresh reworked ejecta associated with small craterlets within the crater floor of a large crater (example Sommerfield) and also the sun-illuminated inner rims of craters (example Kirkwood),” ISRO added.
“The variations in the spectral radiance are primarily due to the mineralogical or compositional variations that exist in the lunar surface and also due to the effect of space weathering,” the space agency further said.
Earlier this month, the ISRO had released images of the moon’s surface clicked by Orbiter High-Resolution Camera (OHRC) on-board Chandrayaan-2.
The space agency had lost communication from its Lander Vikram which was supposed to soft-land on the far side of the moon on September 7.
The Lander successfully separated from Chandrayaan-2 Orbiter on September 2. After revolving the Earth’s orbit for nearly 23 days, the craft began its journey to the moon on August 14.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman K. Sivan said the space agency had not been able to establish contact with the Vikram lander as the 14-day deadline for its mission ended on Saturday. The ISRO chief, however, assured that the premier space agency would dig deep to understand what exactly went wrong with the Vikram lander before it lost contact with ISRO. The ISRO Chairman said the agency’s next mission would be Gaganyaan, its most ambitious manned mission, which is scheduled to be launched in 2022.
While Chandrayaan-2 was meant for soft-landing of Vikram on the lunar surface, Gaganyaan’s mandate will be to send the astronauts to space and bring them back to earth safely. “Chandrayaan 2 orbiter is doing very well. There are eight instruments in the orbiter and each instrument is doing exactly what it meant to do. But we have not been able to establish communication with the lander yet,” the ISRO Chairman K Sivan told. He added the agency would try to understand what happened to the lander. “That is our first priority,” Sivan said.
“Chandrayaan 2 orbiter is doing very well. There are eight instruments in the orbiter and each instrument is doing exactly what it meant to do. But we have not been able to establish communication with the lander yet,” said Dr Sivan.
ISRO Chief K Sivan: Chandrayaan-2 orbiter is doing very well. There are 8 instruments in the orbiter & each instrument is doing exactly what it meant to do.Regarding the lander, we have not been able to establish communication with it. Our next priority is Gaganyaan mission.
The world’s top space agency NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) also tried to help the ISRO by taking pictures of the touchdown site — through its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), to locate the Vikram lander’s position on the Moon but to no avail. NASA said the LRO camera instrument’s had sent the pictures of the intended Moon touchdown site for Vikram but shadows in the area could not capture its exact position.
“It was near dusk as the region prepares to transition from a two-week lunar day to an equally long lunar night, so shadows covered much of the region, and Vikram may not be in the LROC’s field of view,” Aviation Week quoted NASA as saying. NASA is expected to share images of the touchdown area, before and after lunar night, to support analysis by ISRO. NASA added that during LRO’s flyover on September 17, the entire touchdown area was near dusk. It posed a challenge in capturing images due to poor lighting.
India had launched its second Moon Mission in August, but just before the soft landing on September 7, the Vikram lander lost contact with ISRO. The space agency later said the Chandrayaan 2’s Orbiter had sent thermal images of the Vikram lander but could not establish contact with the lander.
Meanwhile, after Chandrayaan 2, the ISRO plans to send three Indians to space by 2022, an announcement made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his last Independence Day speech. ISRO will also launch Aditya L-1, India’s first solar mission, by next year. There are also plans to build a space station and launch interplanetary missions to Mars and Venus.
Chandrayaan-2, India’s second mission on the moon, would be launched on July 15, according to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman K. Sivan. As the Indian space agency is all set to embark on its most complex mission, an uncharted territory so far, the landing on the moon near the South Pole would be on September 6 or 7.
The launch would take place at 2.51 am on board the GSLV MK-III vehicle from the spaceport of Sriharikota. Earlier, the ISRO had kept the launch window for the mission from July 9 to July 16.
The spacecraft, with a mass of 3.8 tonne, has three modules, Orbiter, Lander (Vikram) and Rover (Pragyan).
“Orbiter would have eight payloads, Lander three and Rover two,” said Sivan.
According to the ISRO, Orbiter, with scientific payloads, would orbit around the moon. Lander would soft land on the moon at a predetermined site and deploy Rover.
The scientific payloads on board Orbiter, Lander and Rover are expected to perform mineralogical and elemental studies of the lunar surface. The Orbiter and Lander modules would be interfaced mechanically and stacked together as an integrated module and accommodated inside the GSLV MK-III launch vehicle. Rover is housed inside Lander.
After the launch into an earth-bound orbit by GSLV MK-III, the integrated module would reach the moon orbit using the orbiter propulsion module and subsequently, Lander would separate from Orbiter and soft land at the predetermined site, close to lunar South Pole, the ISRO said.
Rover would roll out for carrying out scientific experiments on the lunar surface, it said, noting that instruments were also mounted on Lander and Orbiter for carrying out scientific experiments.